Sophie Lavaud’s success on Lhotse, her 12th 8000

Sophie Lavaud et Dawa Sangay au Lhotse.

Sophie Lavaud succeeded in climbing Lhotse, 8516 m, on May 14, with her sherpa Dawa Sangay. With this twelfth 8000 m in the pocket, she still has two summits to reach, the Nanga Parbat and the Shishapangma, to complete the fourteen 8000 m, a quest that has been fatal to the previous French climbers. But the Franco-Swiss himalayist is optimistic, and above all, patient. From Kathmandu, she told us about her expedition to Lhotse, before leaving for Islamabad and the Nanga Parbat.

It was a beautiful day in Chamonix, in the salons of the Plan B, base camp of the Chamonix Film Festival, last June. Sophie Lavaud was telling us about her passion for high altitude. Her progression, from Mont Blanc in 2004 to the Central Shishapangma in 2012. Then this quest for the fourteen 8000. 2020 was a year without. A year without 8000. Covid and closed borders.

Last year, Sophie Lavaud put an end to the scoumoune by climbing Dhaulagiri, 8167 m, after three unsuccessful attempts. But a summit has meanwhile been added to the list: having only climbed Shishapangma Central, 8013 m, in 2012, she needs to return to climb the main summit, 8027 m. With China closed since the covid, Sophie Lavaud has planned her priorities for 2022: spring for her last Nepalese 8000. But not the least. Lhotse. “It’s a big mountain” says Sophie. “Lhotse, we minimize it because it is the little brother of Everest, but it is the 4th highest summit in